Let’s face it- dieting and restricting our food choices can be quite a task. It is not easy to fight the temptation of taking a bite of your favorite food items. If you are someone who is passionate about fitness but also loves food, the struggle is real!
The question is whether there is a way in which you can do both- be able to have good food while also maintaining your body fitness and reaching your desired body goals?
Well, we are here just to address that. Tracking your macros for flexible dieting is one such easy way to keep track of what you eat. IIFYM, which is the acronym for “If it fits your macros”, is a convenient diet to follow.
In this article, we will learn how you can keep track of your macros and design your diet accordingly, without restricting yourself too much. Let’s see.
What is IIFYM and what are macros?
Traditional dieting can be very restrictive and difficult to stick to. The “If it fits your macros” diet focuses on keeping track of your macros instead of calories. If you are wondering what macros really are, it is the short form for macronutrients.
Macronutrients are called so because you need them in large amounts as they supply energy to your body throughout the day. This is quite a flexible kind of diet and easy to follow. In IIFYM, you track three types of macronutrients- proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These macronutrients help us sustain by providing energy to our body in the form of calories.
The trick is to calculate your macronutrients and meet the goal each day. You can consume any kind of food you want to have, as long as you reach your macros limit. Basically, you are required to count the exact amount of macronutrients in your daily diet to achieve your goals whatsoever. Let’s further see how you can calculate your macros.
How to Calculate Macros?
You track the grams of each macronutrient you consume in a day while also keeping track of your calories per day since protein, fat, and carbohydrates each provides a certain amount of calories per gram.
The thing of concern is what is the procedure to calculate macros. There are many websites online that provide free macro calculators. You will come across such on the IIFYM website too. However, you can also learn to calculate your macros manually. Here are a few simple steps you need to follow.
- The first step is to know your calorie consumption each day.
- It is up to you to decide your macronutrient ratio. You can consume the proteins, carbohydrates and fats as per your bodily needs.
- Multiply the total number of calories by the percentage of your protein, carbohydrates, and fats intake, respectively.
- The next step would be to divide the calorie amounts by their calorie/gm.
We are providing an example to you so that you understand the procedure better. If your macronutrient ratio is 50 percent carbs, 30 percent proteins, and 20 percent fats, multiply your daily calories by these ratios, respectively.
Let’s suppose your daily calories are around 2300.
Carbs: 2300 x 5/100 = 1150 calorie of carbs per day.
Fats: 2300 x 20/100 = 460 calories of dietary fat per day.
Proteins: 2300 x 30/100 = 690 calories of protein per day.
You can further calculate the grams of each macronutrient.
- Carbs: Per gram of Carbs contains four calories. Dividing your total carb calories by 4 would give you the total grams of carb consumed.
1150/4 = 287.5 grams of carbs.
- Fat: Per gram of fat contains nine calories. Dividing your total fat calories by 4 would give you the total grams of dietary fat consumed.
460/9 = 51.1 grams of fat
Protein: Per gram of protein contains four calories. Dividing your total protein calories by 4 would give you the total grams of protein consumed.
690/4 = 76.7 grams of protein.
Even though it is an easy calculation, for those of you who are not very fond of maths there are easier and fuss-free methods available on the internet too. Many online websites help in the calculation of macros. You can also resort to taking the help of macro tracing apps on your phones. They are quite handy and easy to access. You can track all your meals in a hassle-free manner and can find any food and portion size to find out the calories it has.
How many macros do you need?
You might want to know what the right number of macros for you would be. But here’s the thing- it depends on your goals and activities.
You must know whether you are trying to lose fat, maintain your weight, or gain muscles. You’ll have to estimate and evaluate how many calories you would need to meet your goal, whether it is losing or gaining weight. The TDEE calculator can help you figure out the same.
And once you figure it out, you can accordingly estimate your macro needs. For weight loss, reducing your overall calories and increasing protein intake would help since protein reduces hunger and aids weight loss; as per the report. So, a calorie deficit would be great for weight loss.
If you wish to maintain your weight, you must increase your protein consumption. Research suggests that for a muscle mass gain, also known as “bulking”, a high protein diet with about 3.4 grams of protein per day, per Kg of body weight should be consumed.
Macro Meal Planning
After you have estimated your macronutrient ratios, it is time to plan your everyday meals around them. You will have to familiarise yourself with food items that fall into fat, protein, and carb categories. Portion your meals so as to keep track of how much you eat daily.
1. Are there any downsides to IIFYM?
We agree that IIFYM has mostly plus points and can be a beneficial diet in many ways. There can, however, be a few downsides to the IIFYM diet. You tend to ignore the micronutrients. Your Vitamins and minerals are equally essential and must not get overlooked in your diet. Macronutrient tracking might lead to eating disorders in some people. Hence, it is essential not to overwhelm yourself and take things sportingly.
2. What is the best macro ratio for fat loss?
It can’t really be said. It depends on a lot of other factors, and we cannot come up with one such ratio for fat loss. What you need to make sure is that you aim for a good calorie deficit. Also, make sure to take your optimal protein. Rest will depend on your level of activeness and what works best for you.
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You must be well aware of how you can count your macros by now and keep track of them with ease. But we also hope you are somewhat relieved to hear of this unique and convenient kind of dieting, which is rather a lifestyle.
Tracking your macros for IIFYM is quite a flexible way of tending to your body goals without causing too much pressure or restricting yourself. In case you have been following the diet already, do share with us below in the comments what the journey has been like for you.